A General Court Martial (GCM) of the Army, has imposed a two-year rigorous imprisonment plus dishonorable discharge from the Army on a Captain A.M.U Samarakoon of Sri Lanka Army Volunteer Force for bringing the Army into disrepute by attempting to rob the National Savings Bank at Mahaiyyawa, Kandy on 6 February 2013, disguised as a Muslim female.
The Army Headquarters said in a statement that , “Considering solely the military aspects of the attempted crime, this is the first time in the Army history a member of the Army was tried and convicted in a GCM while his case is still on hearing before a Civil Court in Kandy.”
To be in line with ‘zero tolerance’ policy of the Commander of the Army on Army wrongdoers, the tribunal was convened in November and went on for five days under the provisions (109 & 129) of the Army Act, it said.
The GCM was comprised of Brigadier N.D Wanniarachchi (President), Colonel M.A.A.D Sirinaga, Lieutenant Colonel R.A.D.S Shantha and Major J.M.A.I Gunasekara as members. Brigadier Upali Weerasinghe presided as the Judge Advocate General in the GCM while prosecution was conducted by Lieutenant Colonel J Waidyadasa under the direction of Brigadier Ranjith Rajapathirana, Chief Prosecutor of the Army and Director, Legal Services. Attorney-at-law Ranabahu Perera defended the accused Captain during hearing.
In previous instances, the practice was to suspend Army personnel, charged before Civil Courts during the pendency of the case and re-instate, if one is acquitted by the Civil Court.
The convicted Captain A.M.U Samarakoon, attached to an Army institute at Kotmale, was arrested by the Police on 6 February 2013 for his attempted robbery of Rs 3 million from the National Savings Bank, Mahaiyyawa, dressed as a Muslim woman.